10 December 2019 | Isla San Francisco, Baja California Sur, Mexico
06 December 2019 | Ensenada Grande, Isla Partida, Baja California Sur, Mexico
02 December 2019 | Marina de la Paz, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
27 November 2019 | Marina de la Paz, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
25 November 2019 | Puerto Balandra, Baja California Sur, Mexico
23 November 2019 | Ensenada de los Muertos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
19 November 2019 | Bahia San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico
16 November 2019 | Man ‘O War Cove in Bahia Magdalena
15 November 2019 | Man ‘O War Cove in Bahia Magdalena
14 November 2019 | Man ‘O War Cove in Bahia Magdalena
11 November 2019 | 50 miles offshore of San Juanico, Baja California Sur, Mexico
10 November 2019 | 12 miles offshore of Bahia San Pablo
08 November 2019 | 20 miles offshore Isla San Jeronimo, Baja California, Mexico
04 November 2019 | Marina Coral, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
02 November 2019 | Guest Dock, Shelter Island San Diego
01 October 2019 | Chula Vista Marina, California
30 September 2019 | Off La Jolla Point
25 September 2019 | Avalon, Catalina Island, California
23 September 2019 | Isthmus Cove, Catalina Island, California
22 September 2019 | Approaching Point Vicente

Isla San Francisco

10 December 2019 | Isla San Francisco, Baja California Sur, Mexico
On 12/8 we headed north to Isla San Francisco. It was calm so we
motored for about 3 hours. Enroute we charged the batteries, made water
and fished. Linda does the fishing, and uses hand lines trolled behind
the boat. We had two lines out with different lures. They trail about 10
yards back and about six inches below the surface, so they’re quite
visible from the cockpit. We had a large fish taste the lure, but he
spit it back out (barbless hooks). We arrived at Isla San Francisco in
time for lunch. The cove is a perfect semicircle, just like a picture
postcard, with a brilliant white sand beach, and rocky points at both
ends. The center of the cove is white sand, so the clear water looks
turquoise. We’re anchored in 23 feet, and can see the anchor on the
bottom. When it’s calm, schools of fish circle the boat: 10-inch blue
and silver needlefish in large schools near the surface, a school of
about 20 2-foot long silver fish that hang out in the shadow of the
boat, and way down at the bottom in the shadow one long skinny three
footer. Linda is fascinated by the fish and likes to watch them circle
the boat.

Several other boats stayed the first night in the cove, but they all
left in the morning. We wanted the classic photo with just Rover in the
beautiful cove, so we rowed ashore to climb the hill and look down.
About 50 yards inland, we were assaulted by hordes of mosquitos. Linda
turned back to the beach and I went a little further and got a picture
from the dunes (it’ll be attached when we get back in internet
coverage). I couldn’t get all the way to the hill because of the
mosquitoes, so I settled for a lower angle view of the cove. The
mosquitoes chased us back to the dinghy and out to Rover. We’ve been
dining inside and are glad we have screens for the ports and hatches.

The water continues to get clearer as we move north, and we’re adding to
our list of fish as we snorkel. clearer and we saw a greater variety of
life. Linda’s keeping a list in the guide “Reef Fish Identification” and
is up to about half a dozen so far.

A Norther (strong cool wind from the north) of about 20 knots is kicking
up whitecaps outside so we’re staying snug in the cove. It’s blowing
away the mosquitos so we can dine outside again. On the agenda for today
is baking bread, making water and a couple of small boat projects.
Weather is 76 and sunny, with a breeze in the anchorage, but no waves
where we are. We’ll stay here for a day or two until the wind calms
down, then go north to San Evaristo for a day or so. We’re due back in
La Paz in 6 days.

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Island Life

06 December 2019 | Ensenada Grande, Isla Partida, Baja California Sur, Mexico
We escaped from La Paz exactly as planned on 12/3. Leaving at
slack water, and with the help from our neighbors, we made it out of the
marina and headed up the channel to the fuel dock at Marina Costa Baja.
While we were in line at the fuel dock, we met a nice young couple on sv
Echo. After filling our fuel tanks we motor bashed to Ensenada de la
Raza on Isla Espiritu Santo (renamed Isla Jacques Cousteau). We arrived
in time for a quick dinghy ride to reconnoiter snorkeling sites and a
glorious sunset. We did see a turtle in the anchorage, but didn’t get
close enough to identify the species. After it got dark, we heard sea
lions hunting around the boat.

The following day we did some boat chores, made water, did some
snorkeling, and had a siesta. We snorkeled at Isla Gallo and found the
water somewhat cloudy with not a lot of fish. Our new 3mm wet suits
worked great. We met another nice young couple on sv Indy. We didn’t ask
if the boat was named after the dog.

On 12/5 we moved to the next island in the archipelago, Isla Partida. It
was a one hour trip, and light air so we motored and arrived at Ensenada
Grande before lunch. After nap time (it’s a tough life in the islands)
we went for a snorkel. This time the water was much clearer and we saw a
greater variety of life. Linda’s keeping a list in the guide “Reef Fish
Identification” and is up to about half a dozen so far.

On the agenda for today is baking bread, making water, a hike ashore and
more snorkeling. Weather is 78 and sunny, with a breeze in the
anchorage. Outside of the cove it’s blowing 20 from the north and we can
see whitecaps. We’ll stay here for a day or two until the wind calms
down, then go north and find another island. With the sun shining, the
solar panels let us make fresh water to rinse the salt off our
snorkeling gear and run the fridge to keep the beer cold, so we’re happy.

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The pause in La Paz

02 December 2019 | Marina de la Paz, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Eric Ahlvin | Clear and 77F; wind 10 kts from the NW
We’ve had a nice break in the Marina de La Paz. It’s near downtown, with good access to all the things we needed. We used the internet for updating our blogs, balancing our checkbook and checking the state of our finances, correspondence with potential crew, ordering some items for our kids to bring down at Christmas and reconnecting with the news of the world. We’ve re-provisioned at a grocery store reminiscent of the ones in Spain. I got a haircut. We enjoyed unlimited hot water showers and well-maintained shore heads.

We’ve joined the local cruisers club, listened in on the VHF net and met some new friends.

We’ve visited several restaurants in town, they were all excellent and very reasonable (compared to Seattle and California). We had thanksgiving dinner at one close to the dock, and missed our kids, but didn’t have to miss a turkey dinner (photo).

Today we’ll celebrate Linda’s birthday with some friends. Her present this year was a shorty 3mm thick wetsuit, to make snorkeling in the Sea of Cortez in winter even more enjoyable.

Marina life has been an enjoyable break from cruising, but now we’re ready to get moving again.

Our plan for tomorrow is to get off the dock at slack (high) tide, go get fuel at a marina up the channel and head for the Isla Espiritu Santo and two weeks of anchoring out and snorkeling. We’ll go north for a week, then turn around to be back in La Paz when our kids arrive for Christmas.

Back to Civilization

27 November 2019 | Marina de la Paz, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Eric Ahlvin | Torrential rain, 78F, 74% humidity
Yesterday we did a quick trip in the dinghy around the cove and a brief snorkeling excursion before we put the dinghy back on deck and headed for La Paz. We entered the channel to La Paz and were slowed by a knot and a half of current emptying the estuary through the harbor. Our marina is a floating one, we had a port side tie with a neighbor to starboard (down current) in the same slip, so the arrival was exciting. The knot of current pushed us toward the neighbor, and prop walk to starboard didn’t help. There were line handlers on the dock and we managed to get tied up without bumping the neighbor, but it wasn’t pretty. A saying from my flying days: “any landing you can walk away from is a good one.”

We’re very happy with the marina. There are lots of cruisers, it’s within walking distance of downtown and has an excellent restaurant on the premises. We had dinner at the restaurant and had helado de coco for dessert (photo). This is a dessert we had at Can Borrell (a restaurant in the woods near our house), when we lived in San Cugat (near Barcelona, Spain). It’s coconut icecream, served in half coconut shells. Our friend, Ken Trueba showed our kids how to make horse hoof sounds and they clop-cloped through the woods like Monty Python. After dinner, Linda and I clop-clopped back to the boat.

Today the unsettled weather that we were racing has arrived. It’s calm and sheltered in the harbor but has been raining steadily all day. Laundry and internet use are on the agenda for today, with thanksgiving dinner at the local restaurant tomorrow. This will be our first chance to provision since San Diego, so that’s also on the agenda in the next few days. We plan to stick around until Monday and then head north.

Around the corner into Bahia de La Paz

25 November 2019 | Puerto Balandra, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Eric Ahlvin | Overcast and 75, calm
The wind was finally moderate as we left the anchorage at Ensenada de los Muertos at dawn. (see attached picture of the sunrise with our friends’ boat Ragtime). It was a relatively light wind motor sail up the Canal de Cerralvo. The only excitement was when Ragtime, visible in the distance on AIS, caught a dorado and invited us to a fish dinner at our next anchorage. The wind built as we passed through the Canal de San Lorenzo, and then settled down again as we arrived at the beautiful small cove of Puerto Balandra. We anchored near Ragtime and Ticket to Ride, quickly got the boat squared away and launched the dinghy for a quick row over to Ragtime. We had a wonderful fish dinner prepared by Karen and shared the last bottle of port we’d brought from America for dessert.

The following morning we rowed to shore, did some quick snorkeling and headed back to the boat for a late morning departure to La Paz and a few days in civilization.

Ensenada de los Muertos, in 2 tries

23 November 2019 | Ensenada de los Muertos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Eric Ahlvin | Sunny and 75; 15-20 kts wind from the north
: I got up early on the 11/22 and checked the weather. The east coast of the Baja Peninsula has few anchorages, they are spaced about 50 miles apart, and they’re mostly capes that offer protection from wind from the north, or the south, but not both. The weather showed wind from the north at 10-15 on the 22nd, increasing to 15-20 on the 23rd, light on the 24th and turning around to 30+ out of the south by the 27th. We had three 50 mile steps plus a 12 mile step to get to la Paz, where we had a space in a marina with all around protection. With the weather forecast, I made the decision to take the first step to Ensenada de los Muertos (aka Enseneda da los Suenos by condo developers) before the north wind increased. Linda’s been hoping for our first rest day since Man o’War cove, but I woke her up and we were on our way by 7:30.

We had 50 miles to go, and the wind was right on our nose. The seas get steep and short period with a north wind in the Sea of Cortez. To keep our speed up as we bashed through the waves, we kept quite a bit of sail up, all working sail. We were making better than seven knots through the water, but taking waves over the bow which slowed us down and tacking into the wind. The lee rail was just about in the water. Our tack angles were about 45 degrees either side of our course, so simple trig says our effective speed was only about .7 times the speed over the ground. It was exhilarating (or terrifying, depending on your point of view) sailing. We eventually reefed the main and took in some jib, which had little effect because the wind was still building. Linda was clearly not having fun, and some quick estimates showed we were going to arrive in Ensenada de los Muertos (an unfamiliar anchorage) after dark, so about 1 in the afternoon, we decided to go back to Frailes and try again a different day. We turned onto a broad reach, the relative wind decreased the seas were with us and it was a quite pleasant sail back to Frailes. We met our friends from Ragtime in the anchorage and watched the manta rays jump out of the water and belly flop back in.

I checked the weather the next morning at 6 and it predicted that the south winds that were coming later in the week would have gusts to 50. The safest course was to get out of the way, and in order to reach la Paz ahead of them, we needed to head north. I woke up Linda again, and this time we were out by 6:30. The wind was about 5 knots faster, 15-20, and the waves were a little bigger. This time, we set the main with 2 reefs and the stays’l before we got out of the anchorage. It was still a rough wet ride, but the stress on the boat was less and she sailed more upright. We figured the lesser danger between being caught with high winds and a lee shore or going into an unknown anchorage at night was anchoring in the dark.

We pounded north, less terrifying than the previous day, and arrived at Ensenada de los Muertos at 9:30 pm on a moonless night. There were 5 boats in the anchorage and we used our radar (B&G 5G is very accurate at short ranges), depth sounder and forward-looking sonar to anchor with no problem. The next morning we were amazed to see our friends on Ragtime anchored near us. After pounding north all night. They also anchored in the dark, at 5:30 am.

Ensenada de los Muertos has a nice restaurant on shore, so Linda finally got her day off from sailing. We did a few boat chores and then shuttled the Ragtime crew in for a great meal and quiet afternoon at the restaurant on shore.
Vessel Name: Rover
Vessel Make/Model: Valiant 42
Hailing Port: Seattle. WA
Crew: Eric and Linda
We're making a big change to a cruising lifestyle. Eric retired in 2012 after 32 years in R&D (mostly) at HP. Previous passions included flying and bicycling. Linda will retire in 2013 from Oregon State University. She's been active in Zonta, was a Scoutmaster, and is a champion baker. [...]
Extra: Linda was barrel master and Eric participated in the Jackson Street Vintners; a group of friends that made wine from 2000 to 2013
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